Two Privacy Bills Introduced By U.S. Congress; Facebook And AdSense Divorced; The AdMeld-Google Rumor

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Privacy Bills Introduced

Although the major web browsers are already moving ahead with their “Do Not Track” buttons following December’s FTC recommendations. Congress is ready to take aim. Along with the “Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011,” introduced by California Rep. Jackie Speier, fellow Democrat Bobby Rush has reintroduced his own online privacy bill after finding it gaining some new attention, ClickZ’s Kate Kaye reports. In the meantime, the FTC is gathering public comments on its own policy prescriptions. Read more. Read Speier’s press release here.

Facebook Vs. Google

Facebook will begin requiring app developers to run advertising from a list of approved providers. It’s a long list with some 40-odd options. But the list has two conspicuous omissions, notes Network Effect’s Liz Gannes: Google’s AdSense and DoubleClick. Nothing personal, Facebook says, as ad operators can join the list if they agree to certain restrictions on advertising. Among the restrictions, ad companies cannot use Facebook user data, and Google might not want to enter into a relationship where its hands are so tied. Read more. Meanwhile, Business Insider cites two unidentified sources who say that Facebook generated $250 million in Q4 profits. And one BI source says Facebook revenues will surpass $4 billion in 2011. Read about it here.

Armstrong’s Ultimate Challenge

AOL’s $315 million acquisition of The Huffington Post last week was classic Tim Armstrong. It was big and it was bold. So how does it fit into the AOL CEO’s plans for selling premium ads? Mediaweek’s Mike Shields takes a stab at divining Armstrong’s thinking and what his ultimate plan is. The purchase of HuffPost, along with Techcrunch a few months back, is meant to prove once and for all that AOL can drive millions of engaged users to premium content – with premiums ads on top of it. But whether he can properly integrate all of the various properties and make it scale is still an open question. Read more.

HuffPost’s Worth

A lot is made of the unpaid bloggers that appear to supply much of The Huffington Post’s content. Nate Silver, writing on the NYT’s Five Thirty-Eight blog, crunches the numbers and offers some insight: the company made $30 million in revenues in 2010, mostly from display advertising. This revenue was generated on roughly 4.8 billion page views over the course of 2010, according to Quantcast data. That means the average pageview was worth a little more than six-tenths of a cent, or that 1,000 pageviews were worth about $6.25.  Read more.

AdMeld Got Away

Add supply side platform AdMeld to the growing list of companies that rebuffed a Google acquisition offer. Business Insider’s Jay Yarow and Nicholas Carlson report that Google was willing to spend $150-$200 million on Admeld, but that price was not high enough. Perhaps Google could have used some of the savings from that rejected $6 billion offer for Groupon? In any case, Google is now taking a look at PubMatic supposedly. Read more.

Microsoft’s Mobile Moves

Nokia’s decision to use Microsoft’s Windows 7 as its mobile platform could have greater implications beyond the Finnish handset maker’s bottom line, says ClickZ’s Jack Marshall. Besides accelerating consumers’ shift to smartphones in general and providing another venue for advertisers on Microsoft’s system, it will spur help greater competition among mobile ad networks. Read more. As sign of Microsoft’s increased mobile presence, mobile analytics provider Flurry says there’s been a 66 percent increase in Windows 7 games and apps started in anticipation of the deal with Nokia. Read it here.

Pandora Preps IPO

Streaming music recommendation engine Pandora has filed for its long-expected IPO and is looking to raise $100 million from its stock sale, according to this SEC filing. The filing shows a company operating at a loss, though advertising revenues have jumped significantly in the past year. Pandora still forks over 60% of its revenue to pay royalties, but the reprieve enabled the company to focus on growing rather than just staying alive. As the LA Times’ Company Town blog points out, Pandora has to hand over 60 percent of its revenue to pay royalties, which have been ratcheted down from after listeners petitioned lawmakers. That means the company still has to find ways of driving its ad revenues. Read more.

Google Style

Just in time for New York Fashion Week, Google is updating its work with the release of Designer Analytics. The tool is created for its design partners – big names include Helmut Lang, Michael Kors, and others — to apply Google’s data and see how their products are searched, shopped and loved/hated. Read more.

Video Mix Measurement

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, a group of major media and ad companies will conduct two pilot tests with Arbitron and ComScore aimed at monitoring the behavior of “three-screen users” who watch video with a bevy of different devices, reports AdAge’s Brian Steinberg. ComScore will collect online and mobile measurements and mix it with “set top box” TV viewing data and additional mobile internet usage data from mobile server logs. Arbitron will manage the viewing panels and resulting data. Read more.

Privacy Illusions

There is a tremendous disconnect when it comes to people’s belief of what is private and what isn’t when it comes to online. There’s all kinds of living in public on Facebook, where users share all kinds of personal information. But many still think of it as their “private” profiles. Mya Frazier, director of trends and insights at Engauge, has some advice for marketers to navigate those brackish waters. Persuasion is the stock-and-trade of marketers and brands, not coercion. We are not required to reveal the intimate details of our lives. Instead, we are increasingly choosing to do so, she writes on PBS Mediashift. Read more.

Amazon’s Tax Cut – And Run

Amazon plans to close a Texas distribution facility on April 12 because of a tax dispute. Texas has billed the e-commerce giant for $269 million in uncollected sales tax, with the state contending that since Amazon has a facility in Texas, it should be collecting such taxes for online purchases. The battle, one the company has previously had with New York State and North Caroline, could conceivably affect audience buying online as online shoppers could become less inclined to buy online which might affect such tactics as retargeting, at the least. Read more.

JC Penney: Search Star?

According to he collective wisdom of the web mainstream retailer JC Penney has the most essential website when it comes to dresses, bedding and area rugs. Or so it would seem. The NYT’s David Segal takes a look at the company’s search optimization strategy and whether Google regards JC Penney’s mastery as a “white hat” or “black hat” act. Read more.

Epically Social

Epic Media Group’s EpicSocial , its social net lead gen product, has new brand identity. The unit is also rolling out some new features. It will now provide brands and advertisers with added performance measurements on their campaigns. The company claims the year-old social unit grew 513 percent in the last two quarters of the year, and experienced an 840 percent increase in action-based transactions through the EpicSocial platform in this same period. Read the release.

Trust And Verify

DoubleVerify said it has verified more than 300 billion impressions between January and December of 2010 and achieved eight times more revenue than the previous year. No details on the revenue, but it sounds like good news for the company, which benefited from the surge in ad spending last year. DoubleVerify’s client base also grew to include more than 150 Fortune 500 advertisers using its verification and compliance technology. In hopes of keeping the good fortune through this year, the company plans to “aggressively” hire this year. Read the release.

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